On August 31, 2010 Peter Pharaoh filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court against Ed Keenan, Events Market Media Group, Top Rank, Inc. d/b/a Top Rank Promotions, Inc., and Madison Square Garden for alleged violations of the New York City Human Rights Law Section 8-107.
According to the complaint, Pharaoh is a "well qualified black photographer who photographed boxing events at various venues around the country for several years" and "had received press credentials for numerous boxing events at defendants events around the country over several years."
Plaintiff alleges that "Ed Keenan and events Market Media Group were duly authorized agents and employees of the defendant Madison Square Garden and the other defendants herein hired to provide public relations and publicity for defendant Madison Square Garden’s boxing events and to distribute press credentials for defendant Madison Square Garden’s boxing events."
The crux of plaintiff's complaint is that he was allegedly discriminated against by defendants based on his race because defendant Kennan allegedly stopped issuing him press credentials for MSG after he showed up to boxing event with a white woman. Plaintiff alleges that MSG is a place of "public accommodation" as defined in the New York City Human Rights Law.
Further, plaintiff alleges "upon information and belief defendant Keenan acting on behalf of the other defendants has discriminated against plaintiff and other black photographers because they were black and has refused to issue them press credentials in violation of the provisions of the New York City Human Rights Law Section 8-107 Subdivision 4."
Plaintiff seeks "judgment for damages against the defendants herein, in a sum of Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00), a declaratory judgment ordering defendants to provide him press credentials to defendant boxing events pursuant to the provisions of the New York City Human Rights Law, together with legal fees and the costs and disbursements of this action."
For those interested, New York Human Rights Law Section 8-107(4) provides in relevant part as follows:
4. Public accommodations. (a) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place or provider of public accommodation because of the actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability,
marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status of any person directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, or, directly or indirectly, to make any declaration, publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail any written or printed communication, notice or advertisement, to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any such place or provider shall be refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status or that the patronage or custom of any person belonging to, purporting to be, or perceived to be, of any particular race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status is unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited.